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Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1994 Mar;45(3):225-31.

Religious practices and alcoholism in a southern adult population.

Author information

  • 1Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.



The study examined associations between religious variables and alcohol abuse and dependence among 2,969 North Carolina residents aged 18 to 97 who participated in the 1983-1984 National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey at its Piedmont location.


Six-month and lifetime prevalence of alcohol disorders were compared among participants reporting varying levels of religious activity. Data were collected on frequency of Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance; time spent watching or listening to religious programming on television or radio; importance of religion; religious denomination; and identification as "born-again" Christians.


Recent and lifetime alcohol disorders were less common among weekly churchgoers and those who considered themselves born again. Recent, but not lifetime, alcohol disorders were also less common among respondents who frequently read the Bible or prayed privately. Alcohol disorders were more common among those who frequently watched or listened to religious television and radio. Lifetime, but not recent, alcohol disorders were more prevalent among members of Pentecostal denominations.


Longitudinal study is necessary to further clarify and explain these relationships between religious practices and alcohol disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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